Tag Archive: Ocean County

Nix Pence, None the Richer

Apparently The Donald’s running mate is still a little miffed, and cancelled a fundraiser in the New Jersey ATM. Hope this means less money for local GOP candidates. Donald Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, has canceled his planned visit to…
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A Voice in the Wilderness

The New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve is 1.1 million acres of undisturbed land in this nation’s most densely populated state and is habitat to thousands of species of plants and animals. Since 1978, it has been administered by the Pinelands Commission, a group of 15 commissioners, seven appointed by the governor, one by each of the seven counties in which the reserve exists, and one by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Given our Governor’s disdain for the environment, it’s no surprise that one of the controversies surrounding the Pinelands is the proposal to run natural gas pipelines through the area, a big risk to the water table and critters that will be impacted. Christie has systematically placed pro-pipeline commissioners on the board, aided and abetted by GOP-controlled counties in the area.

I attended my first commission meeting on Friday, and there was only one person who bothered to speak against the pipeline, Lena Smith of Food and Water Watch. Her statement and a brief interview, along with some other thoughts, are below the fold.

Safety Problems Identified at Oyster Creek Nuke

The Oyster Creek nuclear plant in Lacey Township is the oldest operating plant in the United States and is scheduled to be shut down in 2019. Today, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission identified some serious safety hazards at the plant.

While the NRC findings (below the fold) try to assuage any worries, remember that every plant (with the possible exception of Chernobyl) that has experienced significant problems had previously been deemed “safe.”

Let’s hope that Congressman Tom MacArthur, in whose district this plant is, puts the NRC’s and the operator’s feet to the fire and works to ramp up independent safety evaluations and work toward a smooth shut-down and site remediation.

Avoiding the Next Exxon Giveaway

Even as Governor Christie’s Exxon giveaway is being scrutinized during a 60-day public comment period, there’s another potential taxpayer cleanup liability looming.

The Exxon sites are not alone, nor are they the most complex cleanup tasks facing New Jersey.

The Oyster Creek nuclear plant in Lacey Township is scheduled to close in 2019. It will leave behind the detritus of spent nuclear fuel, contaminated ground soil, and other residual chemical pollution that will plague the Ocean County town for years to come, even with the best-financed and well-executed planning.

Christie’s currently-proposed Exxon settlement for a small fraction of the cleanup costs makes sense when viewed through his lens of presidential ambition. Any amount of settlement money that goes to the general fund, no matter how small, helps Christie in his claim that he is balancing the budget. This is not his first one-shot gimmick that he will be using toward this end, and probably not the last. The real cost of the Exxon cleanup will come years after Christie is out of office and will be left to future taxpayers.

Jim Keady running for Assembly, not likely to sit down – or shut up

Jim Keady is running for a seat in the NJ Assembly, and will have the backing of Monmouth Democrats, in a district that also includes Ocean County towns. It’s an uphill race, Democrats are in the minority in the 30th District where Republicans Sean Kean and Dave Rible are incumbents. But Monmouth Dems, under Chair Vin Gopal, are growing and Keady – who grew up in LD30’s Belmar, once sat on neighboring Asbury Park’s council, and returned to Belmar both to volunteer and to tangle with Gov. Christie – is not an unknown quantity in the shore towns.

If you want to track Chris Christie’s sinking poll numbers, and the serious bobble of his once-meteoric rise to the top of the GOP 2016 pack, one marker to look at is this moment last October – the 2nd anniversary of Hurricane Sandy – when he told a heckler to “sit down and shut up.” That was Keady. It made national news, putting Christie in a negative light and spurring articles reexamining his actual Sandy recovery record, just as the chatter for the 2016 White House ramped up.